HC Deb 27 January 2000 vol 343 cc566-7
7. Mr. Kerry Pollard (St. Albans)

What plans he has to strengthen legislation on the late payment of commercial debts in respect of its impact on small businesses. [105755]

The Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce (Ms Patricia Hewitt)

I am keeping the impact of the new law under close review, but currently we have no plans to amend it.

Mr. Pollard

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does she support the European Union late payment directive, which allows the recovery of costs associated with the collection of commercial debts? Will she support domestic legislation on the matter?

Ms Hewitt

We do indeed support the principle of the proposed directive, but we and some other member states are concerned that its scope is too broad. We are working together to sort that out. We have provision in current UK law to allow individuals to recover costs through county court proceedings.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)

Coming as she does from Leicestershire, is the Minister aware of the impact on small businesses in our area of the failure to pay and late payment of commercial debt by a company called TransTec, in Coventry? Will she now answer the parliamentary questions tabled, more than two weeks ago, by me and other hon. Members?

Ms Hewitt

Those questions have already been fully answered. The investigations are proceeding and will be dealt with in due course in the normal way.